Antoine's, an icon for traditional French Creole culinary traditions in America, will commemorate its 175th anniversary in 2015 with a year of special events, menus, and celebrations inside the walls of its French Quarter dining rooms, as well as in other markets around the country.
The New Orleans restaurant is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in America, the birthplace of Oysters Rockefeller, and remains owned by the same family that started it nearly two centuries ago.
"We are honored to be celebrating this monumental anniversary in the city that welcomed my great-great grandfather 175 years ago," says Antoine's fifth-generation CEO and proprietor Rick Blount. "We cannot wait to make this major milestone something for the entire city and restaurant community to celebrate."
Born in France in 1822, Antoine Alciatore came to the New World at the age of 18 aiming to establish a business of his own, and after arriving in New Orleans in 1840, he opened a boarding house and restaurant in the French Quarter that was to be known as "Antoine's."
Under Antoine's wife's tutelage, their son Jules served as an apprentice, running the restaurant for six years before traveling to France, where he served in the kitchens of Paris, Strasbourg, and Marseilles before later returning to New Orleans.
His genius was in the kitchen, where he invented Oysters Rockefeller, so named after Standard Oil Founder John D. Rockefeller, for the richness of the sauce.
Jules was succeeded by one of his three children, Roy, who led the restaurant for almost 40 years through some of the country's most difficult times, including Prohibition and World War II, until his death in 1972. His legacy includes the invention of famous dishes such as Oysters Foch and Eggs Sardou, as well as the creation of several of its famous dining rooms and their white tablecloth décor.
Roy's nephews became the fourth generation of the family to head the restaurant, and in 2005, Rick Blount, Roy Alciatore's grandson, became proprietor and CEO, leading the institution through Hurricane Katrina's devastation and the city's post-storm recovery.
Chef Michael Regua has been at the helm of Antoine's for more than 42 years, continuing the quality and traditions that have made Antoine's famous.
"My focus and my passion is to continue the tradition of classic, French Creole cuisine that people have come to associate with Antoine's and with New Orleans,” Chef Regua says. “We hold true to tradition, and that's what makes Antoine's so very special.